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Innocence Of Father Brown Paperback – Aug 5 1987

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Gifts For Dad

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin UK; New edition edition (Aug. 5 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140082573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140082579
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 12.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,784,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Chesterton knew how to make the most of a detective story -- Jorge Luis Borges --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, (May 29, 1874 - June 14, 1936) better known as G.K. Chesterton, was an English writer. He wrote on philosophy, ontology, poetry, plays, journalism, public lectures and debates, literary and art criticism, biography, Christian apologetics, and fiction, including fantasy and detective fiction. Chesterton is oft en referred to as the "prince of paradox." Time magazine, in a review of a biography of Chesterton, observed of his writing style: "Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories-first carefully turning them inside out." - --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Feb. 22 2007
Format: Paperback
Father Brown is first introduced to readers as a kindly, clumsy little priest who prattles naively about the valuables he's toting, and keeps dropping his umbrella.

But appearances, G.K. Chesterton reminds us, are deceptive. "The Innocence of Father Brown" is the first collection of stories about the kindly, eccentric detective who has an uncanny cleverness that nobody guesses. Chesterton wraps each story in his warm, sometimes entrancing writing and a very odd assortment of crimes.

The first story opens with French detective Valentin on the hunt for the great thief Flambeau, and along the way encounters a little priest who is telling people about his "silver with blue stones." Turns out that the little priest is the target of Flambeau's crime, and the priceless sapphire cross he's carrying is about to be stolen -- but Valentin discovers that Father Brown is a lot cleverer than he seems.

In the stories that follow, Father Brown is involved in a series of strange crimes -- a cold-blooded beheading from religious bigotry, "a cheery cosy English middle-class crime" for Christmas, an Italian prince's invitation ends with revenge, a mysterious fall, a murderer in the open that nobody sees, precious gems, headless skeletons, and a suicide note that reads: "I die by my own hand; yet I die murdered!"

Chesterton's mysteries are often ignored next to Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle, which is odd when you consider his uncanny knack for making mysteries that are simple, yet incredibly hard to figure out. And each mystery is accompanied by little insights into human nature -- such as the one man whom you could see going to a crime scene, but wouldn't notice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Carswell on May 13 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Chesterton is a genius with his lovable Father Brown whose mysteries are in depth and worth the good read. Always an easy recommendation
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Jan. 4 2013
Format: Paperback
Reason for Reading: I've always wanted to read Chesterton and I've always wanted to read his Father Brown stories. I'm finally getting around to it!

This is the first collection of Fr. Brown stories. All were previously published in magazines before they were collected in book form. While Chesterton is known as a great Catholic theologian, these first stories were written before his conversion. This being my very first time reading Chesterton, I must say I was not entirely impressed with his theology. Fr. Brown believes, rightly so, that his job is saving souls; however, the legal aspects and worldly justice of the perpetrators, he believes, is of no concern to him. He leaves that to the police, does not always tell the police everything he knows and the stories often end with us being told who committed the crime and why but before any police intervention arrives. I found this odd at first and didn't always agree with Fr. Brown's theology, feeling he took the role of "judge" which is not a priest's place. Only God's. We can see Chesterton getting the feel for his characters and his writing style in these stories as he wavers back and forth between having a narrator who speaks directly to the reader and one who is a simple 3rd person omnipotent. Towards the end he seems to discard the actively participating narrator in favour of the omnipotent one which I was glad for in the end. As to the mysteries themselves, I enjoyed quite much. Rather simple cases where Fr. Brown and his detective friend, an ex-thief, Flambeau, use intuition and skills Fr. B. has learned in the confessional on human character to solve the murders. Chesterton has some original ideas and some of his tales are rather gruesome, for the times, making them fun, too.
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By Connie Henry on Aug. 29 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not catholic but love the mystery, irony.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 174 reviews
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
The Best Mystery Write EVER April 22 2009
By Patricia Harrelson - Published on
Format: Paperback
I read this on the recommendation of my 14 year old grandson who claims Chesterton is the best mystery writer EVER! My grandson just might be right. Clearly Chesterton is a highly intelligent story-crafter. This collection of short stories about Father Brown kept me awake and alert and ALWAYS surprised regarding the outcome. There was nothing formulaic or predictable in these stories. Father Brown is delightful in a Columbo fashion (perhaps the TV detective was modeled after him), and his sleuthing is remarkably unique. I loved Chesterton's use of language too. His sentences are long and luscious and his vocabulary makes reading a delicious experience. I must say, I'm quite happy to know that a 14 year old finds Chesterton so exceptional.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Introducing Father Brown Nov. 30 2002
By Michele L. Worley - Published on
Format: Paperback
The 12 stories herein can of course be found in THE COMPLETE FATHER BROWN, and THE ANNOTATED INNOCENCE OF FATHER BROWN. This is the first Brown collection, which introduces not only Father Brown himself but Flambeau, the daring thief. Father Brown worked on Flambeau during their early confrontations, and eventually persuaded him to give up his life of crime. He became Father Brown's friend and sometime sidekick, and appears in three-quarters of the stories herein, in one capacity or another.

"The Blue Cross" - The great detective Valentin knows that Flambeau the thief has selected a little English priest as his target, since the priest has been entrusted with a valuable cross set with sapphires. But when Valentin begins tracking the priest across the city, a very odd pattern of incidents begins to emerge.

"The Secret Garden" - Father Brown is a dinner guest in Valentin's home.

"The Queer Feet" - 'The Twelve True Fishermen', meeting for their annual fish dinner at a small, exclusive restaurant, saw the usual count of waiters - but one had died hours before! Father Brown (called in earlier for the waiter's dying confession and last rites) unravels a spectacular caper.

"The Flying Stars" - Flambeau's last crime (as noted in the 1st paragraph of the story), cited as an example of his love of artistically matching settings with crimes. His confrontation with Father Brown resonates nicely with the preceding story's metaphor of Brown having him on a line like a fish.

"The Invisible Man" - Locked-room mystery. The inventor was found murdered in his flat, but witnesses say that nobody could have gone past them without being seen.

"The Honour of Israel Gow" - This story actually takes place *after* "The Wrong Shape". The Earl of Glengyle was a hermit - and after finding some very odd circumstances in the Earl's home after his death, Flambeau and Father Brown begin to fear that Satanism is involved.

"The Wrong Shape" - The writer was a bad husband and an unpleasant man, and the beautifully penned suicide note seemed almost too good to be true.

"The Sins of Prince Saradine" - Flambeau takes Father Brown along to collect on the prince's invitation, sent to him during his criminal career, to visit if he were to become respectable, since he greatly admired Flambeau's stunt of once arranging for one policeman to arrest another, when both were looking for *him*.

"The Hammer of God" - The last two Bohuns are the curate, who pursues the beauty of his church, and the colonel, who chases women. But if he managed to catch the blacksmith's wife, it may well have been the death of him.

"The Eye of Apollo" - Locked-room mystery. Father Brown came to visit Flambeau, who has taken an office in a new building. Pauline Stacey, a rich idealist in a neighbouring office, fell down the empty elevator shaft that same day - when nobody else, apparently, was in the building.

"The Sign of the Broken Sword" - Why has Father Brown taken Flambeau to every monument to the memory of the great general, finally ending here at his grave? "Where does a wise man hide a leaf? In a forest." Someone, unfortunately, once took that saying to heart.

"The Three Tools of Death" - With three weapons visible on the scene, why did the victim die by a fall from a window?
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful collection of stories July 17 2005
By Axver - Published on
Format: Paperback
G. K. Chesterton had a writing ability that is nothing short of extraordinary. He could craft landscapes, settings, and locations with vivid textures, and possessed a cunning knack that made the ordinary seem thoroughly outlandish and the peculiar rather tame. This collection of short mysteries aptly shows off his skill as a writer; whereas most authors would use an entire novel to build tension, cultivate atmosphere, and weave a complex mystery, Chesterton could do all that in a few brief pages - and at a much higher level of quality too! Reading this book is like reading twelve beautifully crafted novels in one, such is the quality.

I won't spoil the stories for you; reading this book is a rewarding journey for the imagination, meeting many characters fantastic in their normalcy or surprisingly believable and realistic in their peculiarity, visiting locations stunningly brought to life with a writing skill that is second to none, and delving into mysterious events that are often confusing, complex, and entertaining for the brain. Don't pick this book up if you want some pedestrian tales; pick it up if you want first-class storytelling that will keep you both guessing and thinking.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Waiting for a train......? Nov. 19 2000
By D. J. Richardson - Published on
Format: Audio Cassette
In recent weeks I have suffered from the rail conditions in South East England. I might have gone mad if not for this book (and a few others, of course). Each story was like getting involved in a cryptic crossword. The stories are weird, wonderful, sometimes quite horrific but always enthralling, and they keep you guessing till the end.
I had really enjoyed 'The Club of Queer Trades', and found 'Father Brown' had the same typically Chesterton style.
Father Brown reveals the dark side of human nature and revels in the unusual and fantastic. I only wish there were more stories.
Does anyone else write like this?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The Innocense of Father Brown June 10 2012
By sherlockholmesguy - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Innocense of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterson is an asssemby of 12 short detective stories with the main character, Father Brown, as the super sluth who identifies the clues as the stories develope.The expectation is that the reader will have an idea as to who, what, where, why and how things happened. Many of the stories are quite easy to figure out ex. The Eye of Apollo, some much harder ex.The Sign of the Broken Sword, but most are fairly entertaining. (I had a problem with one The Flying Stars; it was so boring, I couldn't finish it. That was the one disappointment in the collection.) G.K. Chesterson was a prolific writer, author, philosopher, etc. in the late 19th and well into the 20th century. This collection of Father Brown stories is is a good representation of his detective works. He leaves clues which lead you to the answer of the mystery, but he doesn't develope the characters very much, partly because the stories themselves are relatively short. For the most part, this is fairly entertaining, but certainly not the best mysteries you will read. 3 stars.

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